I have been promising to do this blog post for what feels like years now.
I have been putting it off because I wanted to make sure I could dedicate enough time to answer the most frequently asked questions & eloquently put into words just how important it is to format your CV correctly.
Last May, I started looking to fill a Junior Stewardess position I had onboard. Using my social media & various facebook groups, I shared that I was more than happy to take green candidates. I’ve said it before that I don’t feel as though enough Chief Stews hire green stews. While many Captains won’t allow it, I had the freedom to pick my team & I wasn’t going to let this opportunity go to waste. Within 24 hours, I had over 400 CV’S!!! To ensure the hiring process was as fair as possible, I went through & reviewed every single CV, reference letter & email. I sat in my office until 10pm for three days in a row, I just found it so interesting to see such a variety of layouts, photographs, introductions etc. It was very apparent who had put time into their CV & who had just thrown it together. I’m sure it isn’t surprising that I only shortlisted candidates who had put considerable amounts of effort into their CV.
So, I am here to help!
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions from Stewardesses regarding CV’s and my answers! Please keep in mind that this is just based on my opinion.
What basics should I follow?
I follow 5 rules:
- CV’s should be no longer than 2 pages
- Keep font size between 10-12
- Don’t have large gaps – if you CV is only 1 page, that’s absolutely fine!
- Save it as a .doc if you are using a Mac & always send your CV as a PDF to boats & .doc to crew agents
- When saving you CV, ensure it is listed clearly for example: Gemma Hulbert CV
The general order of CV’s that I follow is:
- Personal Info & Photograph
What personal information should I put in my CV?
On Ben & I’s CV, we have our personal info on the top left corner with our photograph on the top right side. We list the following:
- First & Last Name (This is the header – so make it a larger font)
- Position Wanted (This is the sub-header, write Stewardess, Stewardess/Masseuse etc.)
- Telephone Number
- Email Address
- Date of Birth
- Nationality & visas held
*Include expiry dates for your passport(s) & visas
- Current Location
*BE HONEST If you are shortlisted because you say you’re in Antibes, when you are actually in Cape Town – then you are already misleading the vessel
*I always write “Excellent, No Tattoos, Non-Smoker”
When you are a Greenie with no experience, what should you put on your CV?
Below the personal details, is the Objective Paragraph. This is your time to shine! Share how your previous experiences have set you up to take on this new challenge. Have you worked in a bar? Share that your boutique bar experience has provided you with excellent bespoke cocktail knowledge. Write out what you are looking for in an Interior Team, for example: “I am looking forward to joining a dynamic Interior team with a heavy focus on training & teamwork.” It is ALL about wording & being confident in your past experience.
Next, list all of your previous jobs in chronological order.
Yachting related positions, including daywork come first & then move onto land experience. Write a least 2-3 FULL sentences about each position you held. Go into depth about all hospitality (service, food & beverage, housekeeping, laundry & floristry), organization, administration skills that you have learnt whilst on the job.
When sharing about your yachting experience, write out the following:
Date’s Onboard (left side of page), Name of Vessel (centre of page), Position Held (right side of page)
Paragraph about the positon
Oct 2019 – 2020, M/Y Lilly, Chief Stewardess
I joined M/Y Lilly during a very busy shipyard season….
What should I leave off of my CV?
- Any info relating to High School, it makes you come across as very young
- It’s not appropriate to list social media as a hobby
- There is no need to list the negative reasons why you have left previous positions, keep it POSITIVE
- Don’t write anything regarding salary, enquire about this during the Interview
I only have 1 seasons experience, what should I be sharing about that vessel?
Far too often I have seen Stewardess with 1 seasons experience only write a few words about their time onboard. This is NOT acceptable. Here are a few questions to consider when typing out your experience:
- How many guest cabins were you tending too?
- Did you assist with provisioning?
- What type of service did you do onboard? Silver service, plated, buffet etc.
- Was it strict or a family atmosphere with the guests?
- Did you perform solo drinks service at night?
- Are you comfortable detailing a cabin by yourself?
- What was your highlight while onboard?
For my CV photo, should I wear a Polo or Shirt?
This is a topic that will probably be debated until the end of time! My personal preference is as follows:
- White fitted polo shirt
- Crop the image so it is chest up
- Have your hair neatly pulled back, it HAS to look tidy
- Professional and classy make up
*Less is more & don’t over do it
- Smile!! I want to see your smiley face!
- DO NOT TAKE A SELFIE
Keep in mind that often CV’s have to be sent to Management, Owners or the Owners Representative before the interview. Ensure that your photograph is professional looking.
Are cover letters needed?
In my experience, I have never needed too send a cover letter. I use my introduction email as cover letter instead, and then allow my CV to speak for itself. As a Chief Stew, I seldom look at Cover Letters – my focus in on your experience and the professionalism of your CV.
I really hope this helps you when you are next putting together your CV! Have a question about CV’s? Let me know in the comments below and I will be happy to answer them!
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